BOOK REVIEW | The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing–a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

–  blurb from Goodreads

I recently dropped out of school (it’s a long story and one that doesn’t fit on this blog, but it is fitting to how I acquired this book, so bear with me). On my last day of class, there was a book sale in the main student building. What better sendoff is a book sale?? I roamed the piles, trying to find at least one book I wanted. I have a hard time with giant used book sales. I usually only get books I’ve been meaning to buy at them because there are SO many new adventures that I get overwhelmed. .If I tried to find new books at every book sale I went to, I would not have any living space in my room. It’s also very time consuming to pick up every book that seems interesting and read the back and decide if it’s worth taking home. If you read my blog regularly, you know I have book commitment issues.

ANYWAYS, I picked up The Glass Castle. I had heard good things about it and really hadn’t been meaning to read it, but it was short and a memoir so that was enough for me. I was really glad I picked it when I was paying and the lady told me I was definitely going to cry (I definitely didn’t cry).

I can’t find the words to describe just how beautiful and captivating The Glass Castle was. The writing gripped me from the first sentence and it read like fiction. Usually, I find with memoirs that you’re aware that it’s a real life story because of the writer’s voice. With Walls, I had to constantly take a step back and remind myself that she wasn’t making any of this up.

My heart aches for her childhood and how quickly she had to grow up. I was, and still am, furious for the way her parents acted and the unnecessary responsibility they forced onto their kids. Their living situations made me gasp. But somehow, through all of the hardships Walls had to face, she ended up making a life for herself.

The Glass Castle is not a feel-good memoir. There was no humour to it – only truth and hard to read situations. I can’t even begin to understand what the Walls children went through or how their parents justified what they were doing. I didn’t cry, but I was close to it many times. As horrifying as some parts were, all-in-all this memoir was truly inspiring. If a family that dysfunctional managed to thrive because of their love for each other, and if the kids still ended up pursuing their dreams, there really is no excuse why anyone, rough childhood or not, can’t reach their goals.



2 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW | The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

  1. I found the authors cavalier attitude to her childhood came across beautifully in the style. Maybe “cavalier” isn’t the right word here but I just got off a 11-hour flight and my brain is a little foggy… good review


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